Mezzanines are a cost effective solution for online retail distribution centers to meet demand.
Although the global pandemic is starting to subside, it is unclear what “normal” actually means. The pandemic drove an accelerated shift from consumer brick and mortar purchases to online retail. Fourth quarter 2020 e-commerce sales increased 32.1 percent (±2.1%) over the fourth quarter of 2019 and online spending represented 21.3% of total retail sales for the year.
Things appear to be similar so far in 2021. This shift has placed pressure on distribution centers and manufacturing facilities. In order to keep up with demand, they are looking at ways of expanding the operational space and adding new equipment. Now, it would be one thing if this new “demand” wasn’t combined with a pandemic that is squeezing the supply chain for building materials. In other words, you need to expand. But the material costs for expansion are (pun intended) through the roof. What you need is a way to expand your space vertically, all the way up to your roof.
That’s where CIP’s modular mezzanines come into play.
What is a Mezzanine?
In industrial settings, a mezzanine is a freestanding structure that includes an elevated floor or platform, that is installed between the floor and the ceiling. They are typically made of steel. CIP fabricates a modular mezzanine in 10 foot x 10 foot sections, making them versatile and configurable to a variety of applications.
If you think about it, most of the time and cost of any construction comes from trying to customize to your exact dimensions. But in the case of a modular mezzanine, customization may not be necessary. In other words, instead of thinking about your space, think about your needs. If you find you need an additional 600 square feet of available space, either for storage or to be incorporated into your workflow, and your ceiling is more than twenty feet high, you need six 10×10 modular mezzanine sections (10’x10′ * 6 = 600 square feet).
Other things to consider
Distribution and E-commerce giants have plenty of options when considering ways of adding or freeing up floor space; however, mezzanines have gained attention as one of the most cost-effective methods. Why? First off, land is expensive. Secondly, building materials are expensive. And third, they typically already have the vertical space available. But here’s something you probably haven’t considered. You’re probably already paying to light, cool or heat the space already as well. In contrast, if you had an additional few thousand square feet of warehouse, that is new space to provide utilities for. All that empty space below your ceiling is most likely already being ventilated and lit.
In some states, mezzanines may even be exempt from property taxes.
For high-volume fulfillment centers spanning hundreds of thousands of square feet, choosing a mezzanine over can often save millions of dollars.
Expectation for 2021 and 2022
With the trend in e-commerce set to remain strong going for the next few years, industrial steel modular mezzanines will continue to be a strategic and efficient way for fulfillment centers to increase capacity and bottom line.